Curtis Lazar’s tenure with the Ottawa Senators has come to an end in very underwhelming fashion. After scoring one point in 33 games this year, being a routine healthy scratch, and reportedly asking for a trade, he was shipped to the Flames (along with Mike Kostka) for a 2nd-round pick and NHL/AHL tweener Jyrki Jokipakka. All said, it was a pretty good return for a player who never showed he really belonged in the NHL. It also means Ottawa now has four picks in 2017 again, so the team’s scouts won’t be getting the summer off.
I’m happy with the deal in the sense that Ottawa’s had a recent history of holding onto underperforming high draft picks until their value is less than zero. I’m happy the Sens didn’t go the Jared Cowen route with Lazar. They got an actual return for him. It also seemed like the writing was on the wall with the Sens acquiring three bottom-six guys over the last month: Tommy Wingels, Alexandre Burrows, and Viktor Stalberg. You don’t acquire depth when you’re already healthy-scratching a forward every night. It’s a little disappointing Lazar couldn’t be packaged for a big fish like Gabriel Landeskog, but the Avalanche definitely wanted at least one of Thomas Chabot or Colin White going the other way, and it’s understandable the Sens didn’t offer either one up.
It’s too bad it went this way for Lazar in Ottawa. He was never drafted as an offensive star, but rather a lock to make the NHL. But in 2014 his Oil Kings won the Memorial Cup and the Sens missed the playoffs, and suddenly he was entering training camp with huge expectations. He was the closest thing to a young star the Sens had to market. He was never really supposed to be a scorer in the NHL, but he was getting time in the top six. Outside of March 21-28, 2015 (three goals in four games), he never lived up to that hype.
I’m glad he went west, because I can hope for Lazar to have a great career and it won’t negatively impact the Sens. He seems like a great guy, with an incredible work ethic and a winning smile. Here’s hoping he can pull a Nino Niederreiter. But in the most-likely possibility, he doesn’t figure it out. And that’s why I’m happy the Sens traded him when they could still get something of value.